The controversial proposals to amend Right to Information (RTI) by the Centre have led to a massive backlash from the opposition parties. Leading the Opposition's charge against the BJP-led NDA government, Congress has termed the proposed amendments as a bid to scuttle RTI.
Talking to the media here today, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said, "The UPA government never allowed any dilution to take place in the RTI paradigm. However, ever since this government has taken office, there has been an attitude of active neglect towards the RTI. There have been non-formal attempts over the last three years to scuttle RTI. Finally it seems NDA has formalised the process of subverting RTI."
He said the RTI Act was enacted in 2005 during the UPA regime.
"This piece of legislation was perhaps the single most empowering instrument that had been enacted in the past 70 years. RTI Act created an upheaval, not only in the echelons of the government but had wide ramifications which reached out to every village," added Tewari.
The new draft rules put out by the Central Government says an RTI application can be rejected if it is of more than 500 words. There's been an enhancement even in RTI charges. The cost of postage and the cost of the reply will now have to be borne by the applicant.
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel tweeted, "By trying to alter the RTI rules what is the intention of the government? Right to Inform citizens or Right to Intimidate them?"
"The bar is being raised to make the RTI paradigm difficult for ordinary people to access. There is also a provision which allows public authority or the first appellate authority to file counter appeals. This essentially means the whole process of seeking information will now become a judicial proceeding," former Union minister Tewari added.